That’s a bit unfair — this is something that’s wrong everywhere. It’s called faith. But Indiana did have one ghastly cult led by Hobart Freeman, called the Faith Assembly. They were serious about that word, faith — turning to a doctor for material help was a betrayal of your trust in god. You can guess what happened: people died.
Josh Wilson’s younger brother never had a chance at life. He died in the womb, moments before birth, an innocent casualty of an extreme religious sect.
Many children in Indiana in the 80’s suffered the same fate as Josh, faultless victims of a particularly extreme Christian sect called “Faith Assembly”. Hundreds of otherwise ordinary Indiana families blindly followed the teachings of the sect’s leader, Hobart Freeman.
This summer, survivor Josh and filmmaker Jack Pennington will track down those children of Faith Assembly to gather as many stories from as many survivors as possible. The final feature length documentary is scheduled for release in spring 2016.
This was a man who encouraged diabetics to give up their insulin, who discouraged pregnant women from getting prenatal care, or even from going to the hospital to give birth, and of course also told them to throw away their birth control and have lots of babies. He basically killed members of his congregation.
Daniel R. McConnell in A Different Gospel – A Historical and Biblical Analysis of the Modern Faith Movement says that (p81) "For sheer volume of death and tragedy, none can match the record of Hobart Freeman, pastor of Faith Assembly, Wilmot, Indiana. Estimates of the number of preventable deaths associated with Faith Assembly itself are as high as 90. The number of deaths nationwide caused by Freeman’s teaching on healing is not known." McConnell continues to say that (p96) "Besides Faith Assembly, Freeman ministered throughout the South in a network of sister churches based on his teaching. Although not to the same extent, these churches also experienced deaths due to non-treatment of sickness. The author is personally familiar with a tragic death as far south as Alabama in a church which practiced Freeman’s teaching."
The filmmakers are trying to raise money for this documentary. It sounds like a story that needs to be told.